Tuesday, 21 November 2017


EDIT: When I actually gave this speech I wasn't sure if I could get through it without crying. I'm one of those people that look AWFUL when they cry, so there was no part of me that wanted to cry in front of a large audience! As it was, several people came up to me afterwards to say that I'd made them cry (sorry...) and a few had also noticed how choked I got at one point. Anyway, the point of this is that there was one thing that I would have liked to have talked about but I just knew I would lose it if I did. I've added that in now at the relative point (about three-quarters of the way down, in italics). For more information on that aspect of things, please read this post (which also made people cry - sorry again!). 

At this year's AGM for the Riding for the Disabled Association, I was asked to go and talk and give a participant's perspective on all the great stuff that the RDA does. Fortunately it went pretty well and several people have asked me if I could share what I talked about. It doesn't translate perfectly to prose but I'll do my best!
Saddlers' Hall motto: Hold fast, sit sure!
"Your Royal Highness, ladies and gentlemen - hello and thank you for having me here today at Saddlers' Hall! [I copied this from Alastair Stewart, who fortunately knew how to address HRH Princess Anne and went first - I hadn't even thought about that!] Ed Bracher has asked me here today to talk about why I need the RDA - and I really do need it. I'm going to start off by taking you back to when I first started riding...

Monday, 20 November 2017

Vaulting News - UK para vaulting

Earlier this year I spoke to Vaulting News again about para vaulting in the UK. Vaulting News is an international site which promotes and reports on competitive vaulting as well as grassroots opportunities and training advice. To read the article they wrote, click here!
On Milton the mechanical horse: Rebecca (with a hat on) and me. On the ground, L-R: Alexis (coach), Anne and Emily.

RDA Magazine vaulting feature

One of my posts for my blog on Your Horse Magazine's website ('The Para Vaulter') was spotted by the RDA and they published it again in the latest RDA magazine which gets sent out nationally. They also added some of the photos from this year's Championships at Hartpury, with my fairly unmissable pink and green outfit! You can read it online for free by clicking here and navigating to pp.14-15.

What (not) to say to a disabled athlete

A recent article of mine has been published in The Blue Bird on the topic of how able-bodied athletes can befriend and support disabled athletes. Sometimes we might seem hard to talk to, so this was an attempt to break down the barriers! You can read it here.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Ranch des Baous, 06140 France

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of riding at the Ranch des Baous near Tourettes-sur-Loup in the south of France. I had such a good time that I felt I should review it!

For a start, booking some riding as a tourist in France is rarely easy. Many places do not respond to emails, phone messages or carrier pigeon and over the years I’ve tried several places who have all retained a stony silence. The Ranch des Baous was different however - I quickly received a friendly and encouraging response from the owner, Anne Condesse (who runs the stables with her partner Michel Condesse).
Finding appropriate stables for me abroad is more challenging than for most people as I am a disabled rider and although I have a lot of competitive experience at home in the UK it isn’t always easy finding somewhere that will take me on as a risk and improve my riding at the same time! Fortunately, Anne reassured me that they would be able to help.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Para Athletics World Champs 2017

I recently wrote a report for the Blue Bird about the Para Athletics World Champs which were held earlier this year in London. It's a wee bit edited but mostly me! You can read it here.
Abdullah Hayayei died in a training accident just before the start of the 2017 World Championships